COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Downtown / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / LOS ANGELES / Mexican / USC Annenberg School Projects

[USC] Photo Essay: The Virgin of Guadalupe at Olvera St.

Visit for a photo essay that celebrates images of The Virgin of Guadalupe in all their diversity. 

Virgin of Guadalupe

Diverse images of The Virgin of Guadalupe at Olvera St. in downtown L.A. Visit Flickr for more photos. | Daina Beth Solomon

In 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to the poor, indigenous peasant Juan Diego on Mexico’s Tepeyac Hill. She spoke his language, cured his uncle, and made roses bloom… At least, according to legend. The fantastic vision became known as “La Virgen de Guadalupe” — and has endured for centuries.

Guadalupe is more than a “Marian apparition” to many Mexicans. Devotees call her “The Virgin of Tepeyac,” “Queen of the Americas,” “Virgencita,” and simply, “Madre.” She is a guardian and a protector, a healer and a heroine, a sister and a mother.

Here in Los Angeles, Guadalupe lives in altars set inside parking lots, apartments and alleyways. She displays her star-patterned cloak on tattoos, murals, paintings, and stickers. Her soft smile adorns T-shirts, jewelry, purses, and key chains.

Far from cheapening her, these images keep Guadalupe’s spirit alive. They weave her presence into daily life.


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